School’s Out! Albert Falls’ Miniature Railway
A L B E R T F A L L’ S M I N I A T U R E R A I L W A Y
This little railway is situated in the picturesque little town Of Albert Falls on the Albert Falls meander.
The brainchild of Robert Steiger (Owner Builder) a retired Marine engineer who came up with the idea as an ideal way to further his interests in any subject related to engineering.
After much thought he settled on a dual track gauge of 5 & 71/4 inch-this being the preferred gauges amongst the model engineering fraternity in the country.
The first sod was turned during October 0f 2003, and track work started off at a fast pace.
Evenings were spent in Rob’s workshop where construction of two similar looking Canadian Pacific diesel outlined locomotives and a rake of sit/astride open passenger coaches to run on 71/4 inch gauge track had also begun in earnest.
Construction of a station building was also commenced and finally finished during August 2005.
By this time the remainder of the set-up comprising two huge Fish Ponds, a tunnel and two bridges (One crossing the one pond, and the other crossing the main line of the track) were nearing completion. A roof covering the three tracks immediately outside the station building was completed as well.
The railway was finally commissioned and the inaugural run took place on Easter Sunday of 2004 –and has run uninterrupted since.
Robs appetite now thoroughly whetted, next undertook the construction of a working scale model of a South African Railways Garret class GEA steam locomotive in 5 inch gauge. This project took him3 ½ years to complete.
Another challenge was the undertaking of the construction of a 71/4 gauge working model of a SAR class 19D steam locomotive.
These two steam locomotives can be seen in action on every second Sunday of each month.
For normal running the two diesel locomotives are utilized.
The track itself is 1.2 kilometres in length –making it the longest track of this gauge in South Africa. The line follows the outer perimeter of the property, doubling back on itself (The one bridge and tunnel being utilised for this purpose)
Running time of a complete circuit is roughly 10 minutes.
There is safe parking for about 50 vehicles, and trains normally run on weekends and public holidays.
The station itself has a fully licensed pub, with drawings, paintings and railway artefacts creating a forgotten railway era. Light refreshments are available. Toilets, a braai area and facilities for hosting parties and functions form part of the attractions.